The Secret Life Of Cats (Review)

I have one lingering criticism of Thomas McNamee’s latest book The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions. That is there are no photographs of the cat who is the featured character. The only cats shown are stock images that are used on the dust jacket.

I really want to see what Augusta, the feline who entered the author’s life one winter day in Montana, looks like. She provides a central theme, around which the rest of the book’s content revolves. McNamee’s book is much more than an “animal-biography”, the story of an abandoned kitten who walked into the life of McNamee and his spouse Elizabeth.

This book shifts focus between sentimentality and biology. This approach gives a cat-like feel between heart and head. McNamee provides his personal discoveries along with information gleaned from his interviews and research. He validates what cat lovers already know–that no matter how domesticated a cat may seem, it will always keep some wildness.

If there is one part of the book that really stands out in my mind, it is all of Chapter Five “The Wild Animal at Large”. It is about McNamee’s observations of and interviews about “the city of cats”–Rome, Italy. I learned that Rome is a city that officially takes cat fancying to a new level. Modern day Romans deeply care about all cats, domestic and feral. The descriptions of cats mingling among the ancient ruins of the city make me want to visit Rome just to see the cats.

If you have cats in your life, are thinking about getting one, or are grieving the loss of a pet cat, this is the book to read. You’ll find a lot of good tips, informative leads, wisdom, and comfort. Be sure to keep a box of tissues nearby, there are some poignant passages within the covers of this book.

The author was born in Memphis, Tennessee and spent part of his childhood in New York City. He was a student under the tutelage of Robert Penn Warren at Yale University. Some of his other animal themed books include: The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone,  Nature First–Keeping Our Wild Places and Wild Creatures Wild, and Grizzly Bear.

{ The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions by Thomas McNamee; 288 pages, published March 2017 by Hachette Books; ISBN: 978-0-316-26287-3 }

The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes cartoonist Jim Davis. “Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Books, cultural highlights, Science, Wildlife and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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